In recent months, MarkWest Energy Partners has commenced operations of seven major infrastructure projects in the Northeast, including five new cryogenic processing plants totaling 1 Bcf/d of capacity and two fractionation facilities totaling 98,000 bpd of C2+ fractionation capacity.
The company continues to expand its leading midstream presence throughout the Northeast and has 17 major processing and fractionation projects under construction. These projects are occurring at nine locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and are expected to increase the Partnership’s total processing capacity to approximately 4.7 Bcf/d and total fractionation capacity in the region to over 400,000 bpd.
In the Marcellus Shale, three new processing plants began operating in the fourth quarter of 2013. These plants were commissioned at the Majorsville, Mobley, and Sherwood complexes and increased total processing capacity in the liquids-rich corridor of the Marcellus to over 2.2 Bcf/d.
At the Majorsville complex in Marshall County, WV, total capacity increased to 670 MMcf/d with the addition of Majorsville V, a 200-MMcf/d plant to support Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Statoil. At the Mobley complex in Wetzel County, WV, capacity increased to 520 MMcf/d with startup of Mobley III, a 200-MMcf/d plant to support rapidly growing rich-gas production from EQT Corporation and Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation.
At the Sherwood complex in Doddridge County, WV, capacity was expanded to 600 MMcf/d after bringing online Sherwood III, a 200 MMcf/d to support Antero Resources Corporation’s extensive Marcellus development program.
In early December 2013, purity ethane fractionation capacity doubled in the Marcellus to 76,000 Bbl/d with the startup of its second de-ethanization facility. The facility is located at the Majorsville complex and will provide the Partnership’s producer customers with the ability to consistently meet residue gas quality specifications and deliver downstream ethane pipeline commitments. In conjunction with the commencement of de-ethanization services at Majorsville, MarkWest’s previously announced Liberty Ethane Pipeline became operational.
The Liberty Ethane Pipeline transports purity ethane from the Majorsville complex to the Houston complex in Washington County, PA. Once delivered at Houston, the purity ethane has direct access to multiple, major ethane takeaway projects including, Mariner West and ATEX, which began operations in December, and Mariner East, which is scheduled to come online in 2014.
The company says it is the first midstream operator in the Northeast to offer its producer customers the ability to recover and produce purity ethane and provide transportation infrastructure to all announced ethane pipeline takeaway projects. Ethane produced in the Northeast has the potential to become a key driver for the future expansion of the global petrochemical industry.
In the Utica Shale, MarkWest Utica EMG, L.L.C., a joint venture between MarkWest and The Energy & Minerals Group (EMG) commenced operations of the Seneca complex in Noble County, OH. The complex is currently comprised of two processing plants totaling 400 MMcf/d, which support rich-gas Utica production from Antero, PDC Energy, Inc., Rex Energy Corporation and others.
The Seneca complex is MarkWest Utica EMG’s second large-scale processing complex in the Utica Shale and represents the southernmost assets included in its fully integrated midstream system spanning a five-county region of eastern Ohio. The system is comprised of hundreds of miles of low- and high-pressure gathering pipeline, nearly 600 MMcf/d of gas processing services, natural gas liquids (NGL) transportation infrastructure, and most recently, a new world-class NGL fractionation facility.
In January, MarkWest Utica EMG and the Partnership commenced operations of the jointly owned Hopedale fractionation and marketing complex in Harrison County, OH. The complex’s 60,000-bpd propane and heavier fractionation plant, associated purity product storage capacity and marketing logistics terminal capabilities are critical midstream assets in the heart of one of the most prospective resource plays in the United States.
In conjunction with the startup, MarkWest commenced operations of a pipeline connecting its Marcellus and Utica NGL infrastructure. By integrating two midstream systems, the company will be able to effectively expand fractionation services for its Marcellus producers while simultaneously delivering reliability and optionality for producers in the Utica.
“We are exceptionally proud to continue expanding our essential midstream services on behalf of producers operating in the Marcellus and Utica,” commented Frank Semple, chairman, president, and CEO of MarkWest. “The completion of 1 Bcf of new processing capacity and nearly100,000 bpd of added fractionation services over the last four months is a testament to the extraordinary pace of U.S. energy production occurring in the Northeast shales.
“MarkWest is committed to creating long-term partnerships, developing unique solutions, and the required infrastructure needed to ensure that our customers remain at the forefront of domestic energy production for decades to come.”